• Undressing truth: applications and negations of nudity on the stage and in the audience

      Fielding, Carly (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-03)
      The aim of this project is to test contemporary performance making’s trends and views in relation to the moral values imposed on them by society. As such, it looks at shock values applied to nudity within theatre and dance in the UK. The proposed argument of this work focuses on and questions whether the reaction of current British audiences to nudity still stem from tenets and biases rooted in Victorian morals. As suggested above, the research will explore the use of nudity within theatre and dance, applying theories of sexuality and social politics. To achieve the proposed aims, the thesis will briefly explore the work of two current practitioners who are investigating similar themes. These are Javier De Frutos and Dave St Pierre. They were chosen because of their use of shock tactics in performance. In line with the thinking that informs their practices, this work both proposes and relies on the creation of a test bed which, it is hoped, will help take the pulse of contemporary performance making in the UK. It will also check where is it that audiences and practitioners are standing in terms of social constraints regarding nudity. As such this is an experiment; and although there are many performances that use nudity for shock value, none of them appear to have published findings regarding the causal effect of nudity on shock. The work of Dave St Pierre and Javier De Frutos will be used to highlight the use of shock within performance making. The work of Sigmund Freud and Michel Foucault will also be explored as theoretical grounding for the research. The main body of text will draw upon the practice as research as the primary source, with some references to the authors previous research regarding censorship of nudity in theatre (2012). The formulation of the thesis will draw on the outcomes of the practice based investigation, references to books, journals and interviews - discussed more in depth in the ensuing literature review and, most significantly, on data collected and collated from questionnaires audience members attending the especially devised performance were asked to respond to.